I still remember my first day at The Daily Californian.
At about 9 a.m., I strolled into 600 Eshleman Hall and took a seat at a desk next to the window. The newsroom was a bit messy, to say the least. The floor was sticky here and there and roughed up in other places. Piles of papers were strewn across the desks and the walls were covered with old clippings, pictures and quotes documenting awkward or funny interactions between staff members. The keyboards were all grimed up with dirt and food, and chairs from at least five different decades were scattered about the room — some at a desk, others just in the middle of nowhere. The green ones were lined at the seams with dust and covered with mysterious stains. I grabbed a less-seasoned chair and dragged it to my desk. (To this day I avoid sitting on those green chairs.)
My editor came by and handed me a reporter’s notebook, asked if I had any questions and left.
At around 7 p.m. — two hours past my deadline — I was making some finishing touches to my story after my last source got back to me. My editor came by and asked how it was going.
I told him I was tired. He said, “Welcome to the Daily Cal.”
That day, I wasn’t sure how long I would last, but it soon became clear that I would never be able to leave. In my three years at Cal, I’ve probably spent more time in Eshleman than anywhere else — that’s the norm for Daily Cal staffers.
And now that we’ll be out of here on Friday and in several months this office will cease to exist, the time I spent in Eshleman feels so much more special. I never thought I’d become so attached to such a messy and sometimes mouse-ridden office, but over the course of three years Eshleman became home.
Future generations of Daily Cal staffers will never know 600 Eshleman. They will never know the sunsets on the 6th floor balcony. They will never know the bulky wooden typewriter desks that decades of editors signed on the last night of production. They will never know what it feels like to look up at those big, bright yellow letters that stretched across the 6th floor windows.
But no matter where we’ve been and where we’ll go, lots of things remain the same. Soon, 2483 Hearst Ave. will feel like home and future generations of Daily Cal staffers will make their mark on the office with new traditions and stories. We won’t have the desks, the balcony, the view of the Bay and campus, but we’ll still have each other, and it’s the friends and mentors who make working at the Daily Cal worth it.
Stephanie Baer is the editor in chief and president.